Sponsorship & Industry Relations

Jump to:

  1. Tax Receipt vs. Business Acknowledgement
  2. Sponsorship Package
  3. Sponsorship Agreements
  4. APSC’s Development Office and How They Can Help
  5. Other Sponsorship Tips
  6. Ongoing External Support
  7. Sponsorship Follow Up


  1. Sponsorship FAQ

Teams in the past have been successful in soliciting in-kind and financial sponsorships from companies in their respective industries.

Companies are motivated to sponsor teams and clubs for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Public relations: sponsorship enables a company to display its brand in a specifically targeted manner – many companies consider this to be a form of advertisement. Companies also benefit from the perception, by both the public and other companies, that they support education, innovation and student initiatives.
  • Human resources: to companies, student team members often represent very valuable and talented potential employees. By sponsoring teams, these companies both enhance their profile and presence among students and often get a chance to engage with them directly.
  • Tax benefit: UBC is a charitable organization and as such can issue a tax receipt or business acknowledgement to an individual or a company, both of which have tax implications (for more information, see below).

UBC’s business and charitable number is: 10816 1779 RR0001

Tax Receipt vs. Business Acknowledgement

If you have any questions about tax documentation or receiving sponsorship funds or gifts-in-kind, please contact the Development Coordinator, team.sponsorship@apsc.ubc.ca.

Companies may ask you if they will receive a tax receipt for their sponsorship – they are often simply referring to business acknowledgements (the individual asking may not know the difference). Simply state that they can receive a business acknowledgement if they would like, and feel free to explain the difference:

  • Charitable tax receipt: issued for philanthropic gifts (usually from individuals, rare for companies) with no strings attached. The individual receives no perceived economic benefit from their donation. They can apply the tax receipt directly against their income tax.
  • Business acknowledgement: issued for sponsorships (always from companies), where the company is receiving economic benefit – i.e. their logo is displayed, which is considered a form of advertising. Companies can use the business acknowledgement to write off the sponsorship as an expense.
  • A company cannot receive a tax receipt for a sponsorship, but they can receive a business acknowledgement.

NOTE: UBC can issue business acknowledgements for both cash and in-kind sponsorships. However, in-kind sponsorships require more steps and the special assistance of the Faculty’s Development Office (see above for contact info).

Sponsorship Package

It is recommended for teams to develop a Sponsorship Package document to provide to external groups. The document should include points such as:

  • Description of the Team, your objectives, and your goals for the new year
  • A short explanation of what kind of funding you need, how much, and why
  • A description of where the money/in-kind support will go
  • The types of publicity that the team expects to receive, including expected community outreach that you will perform during the year – this implies opportunities for the sponsor’s logo to be displayed publicly
  • How the Team will reward the sponsorship; teams often have several levels of sponsorship depending on the amount of support given, and often incorporate logo display and opportunities to meet the team as the primary rewards; it is most effective to lay these levels out in a chart format.

An example of a Sponsorship Package has been made available by the UBC Supermileage Team.

The Faculty’s Development Office (below) is also happy to assist your team in developing a sponsorship package.

Sponsorship Agreements

Some sponsors may request that your team sign a sponsorship agreement that they have drafted before they will give you the sponsorship cheque. Whatever you do, DO NOT sign any agreements. Students do not have the authority to sign an agreement on behalf of UBC. In fact, only a handful of people in the entire university have this authority.

If you are asked to sign an agreement, please indicate that you do not have the authority to sign it, and that you will have to provide it to UBC`s legal counsel for review. Then, contact the Development Coordinator (below) immediately and she will liaise with legal counsel.

You may want to consider asking the sponsor if the agreement is really necessary. It can sometimes take months for legal counsel to approve and sign an agreement.

APSC’s Development Office and How They Can Help

The Faculty of Applied Science’s Development Office is the external relations arm of the Faculty. They manage the Faculty’s relationships with industry and alumni, developing research partnerships and fundraising for the Faculty. The Development Office can assist student teams in the following ways:

  • Sponsorship packages: can assist you in developing the content of a package and can even format it into a UBC-branded case, which has been proven effective with industry. NOTE – turnaround time on these cases can be 3-4 weeks (sometimes less), so be sure to plan for lead time.
  • Sponsorship strategies: can discuss who to approach (i.e. target audiences) and how, including cold-call and cold-email coaching.
  • Invoices: sponsors will often request that you provide them with an invoice for the amount of their sponsorship before they will submit a cheque. An invoice template is available here.
  • Issuing business acknowledgements and providing a thank you: as long as the Development Office is made aware of a sponsorship, they can issue a business acknowledgement. Also, it is very important to thank your sponsors as much as possible – it may encourage them to sponsor the team again next year and beyond. Although your team should frequently thank your sponsors yourselves (see below), the Development Office can also thank the sponsors on behalf of the Faculty.
    • NOTE – to issue both business acknowledgements and provide a thank you, the Development Office must be made aware of the sponsorship, and requires the company’s name and the name/contact info of the individual at the company that you secured the sponsorship from.
  • Depositing your sponsorship cheques: When you receive a sponsorship cheque, your options are as follows:
    1. You provide the sponsorship cheque to the Dean’s Office finance dept. or your Department finance for deposit: you must fill out a donation form with the sponsor’s contact information, and provide the Development Office with a copy of the cash receipt, the cheque, and the donation form.
    2. You provide the sponsorship cheque directly to the Development Office: in this case, you must simply bring the cheque and completed donation form to the Development Office.
  • “Sponsor Now” button: can arrange for this button to be placed on your team’s webpage, which will allow companies to make their payment online directly to your team’s PG account and be issued a business acknowledgment immediately. If this is of interest to your team, please contact the Development Office.

If you would like to work with the Faculty’s Development Office, please contact:

Development Coordinator, team.sponsorship@apsc.ubc.ca

Other Sponsorship Tips

  • Begin by speaking with your team’s previous Team Captain and/or review their succession documentation. They have gone through the process of funding their project and should be able to inform you of previous companies who have sponsored your team before and who might sponsor you again.
  • Develop a detailed budget before you approach sponsors so you know how much you need, and what your sponsorship levels should be. Have it available if sponsors ask for it, but avoid providing detailed budget information in your sponsorship package.
  • Do not ask for more than you need, and ensure that you are able to justify the amount of money you are asking for.
  • If other universities have similar teams to yours, check who sponsors those teams and approach those companies.
  • If you are approaching a new company which has not sponsored your team before, try to contact either their Community Investment (best choice) or Human Resource (second best) offices – these offices are most likely to be in charge of sponsorship.
  • Ensure that every sponsorship cheque is made out to “The University of British Columbia” and that its memo line states “Sponsorship of [your team].”
  • Some companies may want to pay for their sponsorship via a wire transfer. Be sure to confirm with every company if they will be writing you a cheque or paying via wire transfer. Wire transfers are typically done through the Development Office, so please notify them of any impending wire transfers. Also instruct the company to include the invoice number when submitting their wire transfer. NOTE – whenever possible, encourage companies to write cheques. They are less labor-intensive to process.
  • Track your team’s sponsorship activities with as much detail as possible – the best organized sponsorship drives are the most successful. Remember, this information must be kept on a secure server or at least an encrypted device. Track information like:
    • Company/individual contact’s name and contact info.
    • The date(s) that you contacted the company and how (email, phone, face-to-face).
    • Results of any conversations with a company, and next steps.
    • Company’s decision RE sponsorship (“yes” plus $$ amount; or “no” and reason).
    • Potential dates for follow-up (sometimes you might have to follow up once or twice before you even reach someone at the company, let alone get an answer).
    • Date that you receive sponsorship cheque, and actions taken with it (important because you may have to follow up with some companies to get the cheques that they have promised).

Ongoing External Support

Please see the page Supplier Discounts under Student Resources
If you are aware of any additional groups that do so, please inform team.engineering@ubc.ca.

Sponsorship Follow Up

Should your team receive sponsorship funding, there are three very important follow up activities that need to be done.

  1. Please send the sponsor a thank you letter from the team immediately.
  2. Please be sure to follow through with the sponsorship awards that your team promised. It is vital that your team deliver on all promised benefits, or the sponsor will not support the team in future.
  3. At the end of the academic year, send each sponsor a short report on your activities for the year, along with the name of your new team captain or sponsorship representative.

Together, these activities will ensure that your sponsors are appropriately thanked, and that your team has the continuity they need to successfully secure sponsorships the following year.